Sunday, May 03, 2015

Mowing

I mowed again yesterday - for the 2nd time. I actually set the mower on the highest setting. I'm not sure if I've ever done that before. Some day I'll need to look back and check. At any rate, it was pretty long, and it looked pretty nice mowed on the highest setting. Unfortunately I have not had very good luck with my weed & feed though, as the lawn still has a ton of dandelions. And, mowing so high, I didn't even take the head off a lot of them. Oh well. One of these days. I'm actually thinking about just hiring a service to take care of it next year. We'll see.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

My phone fix

I had been having trouble with my iphone 5 lately. One thing was the charger. When I would plug it in to charge it would occasionally not charge. Then I noticed that if I held it in a certain way it would, but as soon as I would let go, it would stop. So I did a Google search and found a very simple solution.

If you are having trouble with your phone not charging, try cleaning out the port in the bottom of the phone. I suggest a toothpick. I had tried just blowing, and some people suggest compressed air, but when I started digging out the lint I realized there was just too much packed in there. It was like a belly button full. It works great now.

The other issue we had was... Jane and I both have the same phone, and we share and Apple ID. When we upgraded to IOS 8.3 the other day, all of a sudden we started getting each other's text messages (iMessages). There were also some other issues. So, again, I did a couple day's worth of Google searches and was finally able to figure out how to set up my own Apple ID. We kept the same ID for our phones, and for pictures and iTunes, but I used my own for messaging and facetime. That seemed to take care of that.

So, there ya go, two fixes for the stupid iPhone. After having so much trouble finding actual details that were for OUR particular phones with our particular operating system, I can't believe these phones are as popular as they are. They are not very user friendly. But, nonetheless, we have them.

Friday, May 01, 2015

First game of the season

We went to our first Tincaps game of the season last night. It was a nice day, but it turned a little chilly later on. It was still fun.

One thing I've noticed is that finding free parking downtown is becoming more difficult. Almost like someone is doing that on purpose. We still managed to find a spot by the library.

There were a few minor changes made to the stadium since last year. One thing that remained the same was our "beer man." We have occasioned the same beer server for 3 summers now. Somehow he and I hit it off a couple summers ago, and even though we hadn't seen him since last summer, he noticed us as we were walking down the concourse. It's nice to be noticed sometimes.

Another interesting items is... he is now working with Tim Hortons. Apparently they are going to open several of them in Fort Wayne. He told me to mention his name (Tom) if I were interested in pursuing it. I actually do need to find a new job, but I'm not sure if that's the direction I want to go. I may check into it though.

Otherwise we made several laps around the concourse, saw several people we knew, and called it a night probably around the 7th inning or so.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Unwilling

The 'old man' Bible Study I'm in met for the last time this past Tuesday night. We spent 9 weeks studying the book of 1 Peter, and Tuesday we went over chapter 5, verses 1-4. Peter is giving admonitions/exhortations to church leaders, and the thrust of it is derived from the shepherd image.
1 Peter 5:1-4 (NIV)
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

As with every study we had about a dozen questions to work through. One in particular caught my eye, and really made me stop and think: "What traits of a shepherd do you need to develop in order to be a better leader?"

We had discussed that there are 3 positive traits of a shepherd Peter puts forth here.
  1. Being willing to serve (instead of doing it out of obligation).
  2. As God wants you to be (instead of pursuing dishonest gain).
  3. Eager to serve (instead of lording it over others).
We never really got around to openly sharing our answers, but I was feeling mighty convicted. I'm not sure you can actually separate these as individual traits; they seem connected to me. However, if you're not willing to serve, there's little chance you're going to follow God's leading or be eager to serve others. So I came face to face with the fact that... I'm not really willing anymore

I'm not saying I will never be willing again, but right now I'm just not. I'm not proud of that; I have no good reason; it's just the way it is. And, honestly, my reasons probably come from 1) pain or lack of confidence, and 2) outright rebellion.

Being asked to resign as the pastor at my last church wasn't really what shook me... It was the betrayal and hurt inflicted on my family and myself. I think I've come a long way, but the truth is - I still hurt. Dang. I want to be over it completely, but I think it's a lie to try to force it. My confidence is simply shot. I wasn't only asked to resign but was told by the people whose opinions I valued most that, not only was I not doing a good job, but I apparently had NEVER done a good job. I know we're not supposed to worry about what others think of us, but... that's easier said that done. Especially for me.

Lately, though, I've been finding myself just telling God "no." Again, I'm not proud. I don't like being like this, but I... just don't want to do it. I don't want to pastor a church, I don't want to lead a small group or Bible Study, I don't want to lead worship or play in the band, or... anything. I realize I don't need to be a traditional pastor again, but that's not even the extent of it. Sadly enough, I'm just kinda resistant to any of it. Of course, the truth is, I really DO want to do those things, but... my heart is hard. There's really no other way to explain it than outright rebellion. It is not a good place to be.

I suppose I have a drawer full of sermons on how I should handle this. Without looking, I'm pretty sure they all start with 'confession.' There it is. Now I wait.

The odd thing is... I really don't feel all that stressed about it. The last thing I want to do is to do something for the wrong reasons. So I continue in this abiding stage. I had hoped it would be over much sooner, but I guess not. Or else I'm completely wrong. Eh. This is where I am.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Caleb turns 1

Today is grandson #2 (and grandchild #3), Caleb's, 1st birthday. He is at a really fun stage. He still thinks life is good - other than when his big brother doesn't want to share toys with him - and he smiles easily at just about anything. He is clearly the happiest of the 3 to see us whenever we're around. You just need to say his name and he gives a big ol' grin. He is also walking pretty good now - even though it's a bit of a sideways shuffle. He also likes to play with cars, and to eat. He likes cramming a lot of food in his mouth at the same time.

Unfortunately Anna had to have a dental procedure done today so his parents weren't home when he woke up. I'm sure he didn't mind that Grandma Jane was there though. Anna had to be put to sleep so she will likely be a bit groggy all day. They are having a party for him this Saturday though. My parents are even going to make it out.

I think this pic is from Easter Sunday. He clearly looks just like Drew's dad. I hope he holds onto that happiness for a long time!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Busy day

I don't have a ton of them, but every now and then I do have busy days. Today is one.

My Tuesday's start out with a coaching session at 7:45 am. I meet a friend at a local restaurant and either I coach him or he coaches me. Then I head straight to work. I have lunch and supper at work, and then go directly to the church for my old man Bible Study. That lasts until 8 pm.

On this particular day, we are supposed have the boys spending the night (grandons Bennett and Caleb). Anna has a dental procedure in the morning, so we are keeping the boys and Jane took Wednesday off.

Also, on this particular day, I have been really busy at work. Not necessarily renting a lot of units - though I have - but just "stuff" going on all day. I sprayed the weeds around the offices and buildings 1-6 and along the back fence. I've also had this guy with dementia in several times with various dilemmas. I feel so bad for him, but I'm not exactly sure what to do. Anyway, there seem to have been several other things going on today, in addition to the usual things.

So... that's what I've been doing today. I have the door and window in the office open right now because a lady just came by and was smoking a cigarette while standing in the door. She was holding it outside, but the smoke made its way in here. Ugh. She goes through my dumpster every day (several times a day) looking for things she can scrap or sell. I don't mind.

Oh, I almost forgot, I guess I did manage to get my Bible Study done at work today. I did a little last night, but went over it again when I had a minute earlier today.

Well, I guess that's it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Babysitting and being invited

We kept the 3 grandkids overnight again this past Saturday into Sunday. Poor Anna didn't feel very good Saturday night. She had a cough and was running a fever. She mostly laid on the couch and slept off and on. The boys were good and played quite well.

Jane ended up sleeping with Anna because she didn't feel good, and her fever finally broke during the night. She felt much better Sunday morning, but I think may have overdone it a bit and soon wore herself down again. She slept on her mother's lap through church.

Bennett fell asleep on the floor Saturday night, and he sleeps good through the night. He is also the late sleeper - though I think he likes to just lay in bed for awhile after he wakes up too.

I slept in our room and had Caleb in the portable crib. He slept alright - only woke up a few times. He either lost his pacifier, or he just wanted to check to see if I was still there.

Anna and Caleb were up around 6 am and ready to go! Bennett finally woke up a little after 8. Caleb took a morning nap, and the older 2 wanted to go OUTSIDE to play. Of course we let them. They like playing on the swing set and also riding their bikes on the patio. Drew Carrie came over and we all left for church around 10:30.

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After church we went over to Larry and Dona's for lunch. Larry is in my "old man's" bible study, and he called last week and wondered if we would want to do lunch after church some Sunday. They live in a nice condo over by the Stellhorn facility, and we had a great time. She made baked spaghetti and salad. They are a very nice older couple who have been in the church for around 40 years. They found out about our exit from pastoring and immediately invited us over to see if there was anything they could do to help. I thought that was a nice gesture, and it was nice just being invited over. They are the first people to do that other than the pastor and his wife. We only stayed a couple hours, but had an enjoyable visit.

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Speaking of which... that's one thing that is rather odd about this church. They are an 'elder-led' church - so it's kind of a big deal to be an elder - and I think 3 different elders have introduced themselves to one or the both of us ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS! Meaning they had no clue who we were even after meeting us previously. One in particular has talked to us several times, still re-introduced himself to us last Sunday, and this Sunday he walked past us like we weren't even there. To top it off, a guy I work with and his wife sat right in front of us Sunday and neither of them said a word to us - which is nothing unusual, they never speak to us or even look at us. That's the sort of thing that makes a person feel rather unwanted. So... it was nice to be invited to someone's house. I just didn't think that after 2 years we would still be trying to find a church to fit into. Maybe there isn't one...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

We have a headboard

When Jane and I got married my parents gave us one of their old beds. We eventually gave it to Drew Carrie when they got married. We now have it back - in our guest room. Since then we've never had a headboard on our bed. We just have one of those metal frames (though we briefly just put the mattress on the floor). Recently we discussed trying to make some kind of headboard - something we could set pictures on, or something. Jane ran across this headboard in the pic, and it was actually cheaper to buy than to make. So... we now have a headboard. Jane decorated the room to match the pics we painted at one of those 'Wine & Canvas' dealios. All our bedrooms are now somewhat coordinated. Thanks to m'Lady.


Friday, April 24, 2015

He sat there in his big chair behind his big desk and...

Wept.

I admit that my mind is a sadly strange cluster of garble. All I could think of after putting up yesterday's post was this story of Bill Bright that Don Miller shared in his magnificent book Blue Like Jazz. I actually thought of it while writing yesterday's post, but thought I could get by without it. It was weird though, because I just felt incomplete the whole rest of the day... Just for not posting this story on my stupid blog. I know...

So... I will put it below. It is one of - if not THE - favorite stories I've ever come across. I did a search on my blog and found that the first time I shared it was in 2007. I actually kind of like the entire post I put up around it that day - I think everyone should read it too - it has to do with confession, and sin, and other good stuff (click the link "the entire post" to read it). Anyway, here is the story. If you're reading, please read it gently; carefully; read it a couple of times. Or not...

A guy I know named Alan went around the country asking ministry leaders questions. He went to successful churches and asked the pastors what they were doing, why what they were doing was working. It sounded very boring except for one visit he made to a man named Bill Bright, the president of a big ministry. Alan said he was a big man, full of life, who listened without shifting his eyes (cool phrase, I think). Alan asked a few questions. I don't know what they were, but as a final question he asked Dr. Bright what Jesus meant to him. Alan said Dr. Bright could not answer the question. He said Dr. Bright just started to cry. He sat there in his big chair behind his big desk and wept.

When Alan told that story I wondered what it was like to love Jesus that way. I wondered, quite honestly, if that Bill Bright guy was just nuts or if he really knew Jesus in a personal way, so well that he would cry at the very mention of His name. I knew then that I would like to know Jesus like that, with my heart, not just my head. I felt like that would be the key to something.

 Yeah... the key to something. Holy. I want that kind of holiness. I do.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

50 shades of holy

I was having breakfast with my pastor friends this morning and something one of them said got me thinking about holiness. In the Bible God says, "Be holy, because I am holy" (Lev. 11:44; 1 Peter 1:16). I'll get to what I think that entails in a minute, but my thought this morning was: How many pastors (I was thinking 'well-known' pastors) are thought of as "holy" people?

When I think of holy people the first ones that come to mind are the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Mother Teresa... they seem holy to me. But when I think of well-known pastors/church leaders, most of them seem to be known more for their organizational skills, or speaking skills, or their charisma. And isn't that what congregations long for in a pastor? Along with being young, having a wife who plays the piano, and a couple small children...

Our breakfast conversation also involved the idea of the "pastor" as "shepherd." Many people think of shepherding as "driving" or "herding" sheep, but I'm told the reality is that shepherds in the biblical sense led their sheep in a much different way. The sheep knew the sound of their shepherds voice, and they would simply follow.

So my question (to myself) is... How do most of our church leaders "lead"? It seems many of us have been guilty of trying to push people to do things (drive, herd, force, persuade...). I wonder if church leaders spent more time learning to live holy lives themselves, would that present a better picture of God's idea of discipleship than what we have? Would people be more willing to follow? Or is that even the point?

I certainly don't pretend to know the answer; I'm just thinking out loud. At any rate, I did stumble across a good article this morning "What Does God Mean When He Asks Us To Be Holy As He Is Holy?" The author points out that so many of us think of holiness only in terms of morality - the things we do or don't do. Godly holiness, though, is more the idea of being "set apart" for God; belonging to him. That's the only way we can be holy as he is holy - it's identifying with him through relationship with him. As the author says...
If we read the biblical understanding of holiness through the lens of our relationship to God, Jesus, as the unique revelation of God, becomes preeminent. Too often, our notions of holiness are lifted from the Old Testament [obeying rules] without understanding them in light of God's self-revelation in Jesus.
Those who have responded in faith to the revelation of God in Jesus Christ have been united with Christ. To be a Christian means far more than merely to believe in God—as if the Christian faith were reducible to a system of beliefs. Rather, it means to be united with Jesus in and through the Holy Spirit.

So being holy isn't merely about the things you do or don't do. It kind of paints the picture in my mind of simply being head over heels in love with Jesus. Being His. Belonging to him. Living for him. This man/God, who is the ultimate, perfect, being, and who holds the keys to the universe and all of time. What's crazier is... he wants to be in love with us too.

Well, this has turned into way too long of a post. I did want to include this quote I saw from Frederick Buechner this morning though. So I'll end with this:
IF THE WORLD IS sane, then Jesus is mad as a hatter and the Last Supper is the Mad Tea Party. The world says, Mind your own business, and Jesus says, There is no such thing as your own business. The world says, Follow the wisest course and be a success, and Jesus says, Follow me and be crucified. The world says, Drive carefully—the life you save may be your own—and Jesus says, Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. The world says, Law and order, and Jesus says, Love. The world says, Get and Jesus says, Give. In terms of the world's sanity, Jesus is crazy as a coot, and anybody who thinks he can follow him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under a cross than under a delusion.
- Originally published in The Faces of Jesus

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

If dreams were lightning

I feel like I've written this post a million times before. It's a chilly midwestern morning and I'm feeling contemplative; my mind stuck inside John Prine's 'Angel From Montgomery.' It's one of my favorite songs. We heard a couple sing it where we had supper last Friday. "How the hell can a person/go to work in the morning/come home in the evenin'/and have nothin' to say?"

So many of the lyrics could have titled this entry. The one I chose kinda struck me today. I guess maybe I'd been on this kick to write only positive and helpful information lately. I'm not sure that's the best me. I don't think it's the real me. Even though I've leveled off from what I was, I still struggle with insecurity; it's a challenge to put myself out there; I feel stupid; I want people to like me; I want to be validated. Rarely does it rain just so.

I had a lot to say earlier. Time often takes our thunder. I remember an old pastor telling me once, when he was asked how he could stay in ministry as long as he did, he said he "just gets up every morning, pulls his pants on one leg at a time, and goes to work." Life can be like that.

"To believe in this living is a hard way to go."

I was wearing shorts and mowing the lawn Saturday, now there are snowflakes crossing the window. My leg hurts where I burned it on the motorcycle last week. I have some boxes I need to deliver to a storage unit. It's been a busy morning, and I forgot what I was going to write about. So this is it.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Haircut

I got my haircut Saturday. I went to the Great Clips on our side of town again. Jessica cut my hair. She was nice, and she did alright, but I've noticed that the people at this particular place don't do quite as thorough of a job as they did at the other place. They never offer to do my eyebrows, and yesterday I was actually going to have them trim my beard, but she didn't offer. It was a pretty quick haircut. But, like I said, it was okay; so I'm not complaining. Again it was a 4 on top and 2 on the sides.

One funny thing was... she asked how I wanted my bangs cut. I looked at her and asked, "bangs???" We both laughed. I haven't had bangs for a long time. She said she meant the top front.

I may start cutting it myself again now. I don't know. It's almost worth it just to have someone run the clippers on the back of my neck. That feels SOOOOOO good. We'll see.